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2014-2021 Press Releases

This Time of Change

Dear UMW members and friends,

You have likely read recent media reports pointing to a split in the United Methodist Church. Many outlets grossly overstated what has happened, and I am writing to clarify.

Over the past several months, persons who have various leadership roles in our denomination and in some of the groups that have prepared their own separate plans for how the denomination should proceed in 2020 met with a mediator to see if it was possible to come together around a single plan. On Friday, Jan. 3, they announced that they had reached an agreement to move ahead through separation.  Their proposal would allow traditionalist United Methodists to form a new Methodist/Wesleyan body.  The protocol has provisions dealing with properties, pensions, and sketches out some of the timing and process that would be required. I encourage you to read the United Methodist News Service article about it. At this stage, this agreement is a proposal. Actual legislation for the General Conference to consider will need to be drafted. It is a recommendation that has yet to be voted on or approved.

The current outline does not address United Methodist Women or the agencies of the church very much, except to say that, if the proposal is adopted, they and we would remain part of the UMC rather than the traditionalist denomination that could be formed if this approach is adopted by the General Conference. As you may know, United Methodist Women has been following the development of all the plans and at times providing input or response.  Along with you, we know that there is urgent work for United Methodist Women to take on—supporting women, children and youth, and marginalized persons and advocating for policies that are more just.  Our commitment is to be a place where all the women who affirm the Purpose and want to work together in mission can belong. With this in view, the United Methodist Women Board of Directors has already made changes to our bylaws to ensure that women committed to this mission could continue to belong, regardless of whether they or their church or their Conference separates from the UMC.

As United Methodist Church examines the next steps, United Methodist Women will continue to be a place where the needs of women and children are front and center. As we do, we encourage each of you to be informed of what is being considered and to offer leadership in your congregation and in the District and Conference. Times of dramatic change can bring new possibilities. They are also times to remain vigilant about our core commitments and our identity, both as a denomination and as an organization.

In this time of change, we encourage members to remain connected to each other, remain centered on the work we are called to do in the world, and to remain watchful of information on the next steps, confident that God is at work.

In Love,
Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary and CEO
United Methodist Women


Contact: Yvette Moore,

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